Madison, Wis., April 4, 2022–Madison Gas and Electric’s (MGE) latest solar array, the 8-megawatt (MW) Hermsdorf Solar Fields, is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE’s distribution grid. The project in southeast Madison provides solar energy to the City of Madison and to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) under MGE’s innovative Renewable Energy Rider (RER).
“We are excited to have this solar array in service, providing carbon-free, cost-effective electricity as we continue to grow our use of renewable energy and move toward net-zero carbon electricity by 2050,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO. “Thank you to the City of Madison and MMSD for their partnership on this project, which provides another source of locally generated clean energy and is another step toward our shared sustainability goals.”
“I’m delighted to be partnering with MGE and MMSD to bring sustainable energy to Madison,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “The clean solar-powered electricity generated by Hermsdorf Solar Fields helps the City of Madison take a significant step toward our 100% renewable energy goal for City operations.”
The City is served by 5 MW of the output and MMSD is served by 3 MW of the output under separate RER agreements with MGE. The electricity generated by this distributed solar project is expected to increase renewable energy use in City operations by nearly 20% and by about 16% for MMSD.
Hermsdorf Solar details
Located on more than 50 acres of land off of East Buckeye Road in southeast Madison, the solar array includes nearly 30,000 solar panels consisting primarily of bifacial panels that produce energy from both sides as they track the sun throughout the day. The project was developed by NextEra Energy Resources Development, LLC.
MGE owns the array and leases the land from the Hermsdorf family. MGE will add pollinator plantings in certain areas of the Hermsdorf site to provide pollinator habitat for dwindling monarch and honeybee populations.
Renewable Energy Rider grows local clean energy
MGE’s RER enables MGE to partner with a large energy user to tailor a renewable energy solution to meet that customer’s energy needs. The City of Madison and MMSD have entered into separate RER agreements with MGE, which were approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. RER customers are responsible for costs associated with the renewable generation facility and any distribution costs to deliver energy to the customer. The RER model grows clean energy in our community.
Working toward net‐zero carbon electricity
MGE has a goal to reduce carbon emissions at least 80% by 2030, consistent with global climate science to limit global warming. MGE continues to transition its energy supply to cleaner sources, with the anticipated addition of nearly 400 MW of wind, solar and battery storage between 2015 and 2024.
In May 2019, MGE announced its goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050, making it one of the first utilities in the nation to commit to net-zero carbon by mid-century. MGE’s net-zero goal is consistent with climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) October 2018 Special Report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To achieve deep decarbonization, MGE is growing its use of renewable energy, engaging customers around energy efficiency and working to electrify transportation, all of which are key strategies identified by the IPCC.
MGE generates and distributes electricity to 159,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 169,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE’s parent company is MGE Energy, Inc. The company’s roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.